Today we were at a gathering of old friends just outside Liège, at Embourg. From their balcony the view plunged down into a green valley and back up a wooded hill to an imposing and somehow haunting structure. This, it transpired, was the Basilica of Our Lady of Chèvremont, for many years a place of pilgrimage. But the site long pre-dates the current structure and, indeed the church. In fact, fortifications stood on the hill long before Liège came into being and were once thought to be impregnable. For some reason, that sort of juxtaposition has always fascinated me. For example, Fiesole, where I once had the great pleasure of living, is much older than Florence and was for some time much more important. And just recently I jogged past a sleepy village in the Belgian Famenne called Revogne. Now there are the remains of a gate and a rather pretty seventeenth century chateau on a hill. But for about 200 years Revogne was the regional power base of Les Princes Évêques de Liège and was easily the strongest military installation for miles around. That is, until 18 August 1466, when a Louis Bourbon hellbent on revenge utterly destroyed it and its nearby satellite, Dinant, massacring the inhabitants. I suppose it all comes back to Shelley’s Ozymandias again.